Three Things: Russia and China Spying, Kavanope

[NB: Yes, it’s Rayne, not Marcy. Check the byline.]

Huge news earlier today related to spying. Really big. MASSIVE.

And a MASSIVE cover-up pawned off on the feeble-minded as a ‘complete investigation‘ into Dr. Ford’s and Deborah Ramirez’s accusations against Brett Kavanaugh.

~ 3 ~

Bloomberg published an epic piece of investigative journalism this morning about China’s spying on U.S. businesses by way of tiny chips embedded in server motherboards. The photos in the story are just as important as the must-read story itself as they crystallize a challenge for U.S. intelligence and tech communities. Like this pic:

That tiny pale obelisk to the right of the penny represents one of the malicious chips found in affected Supermicro brand motherboards shipped to the U.S. market — nearly as small as the numbers in the date on the coin. Imagine looking for something this puny before a machine is turned on and begins to launch its operating system. Imagine trying to find it when it is sandwiched inside the board itself, embedded in the fiberglass on top of which components are cemented.

The chip could undermine encryption and passwords, making any system open to those who know about its presence. According to Bloomberg reporters  Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley, the chips found their way into motherboards used by Apple and Amazon.

Information security folks are scrambling right now because this report rocks their assumptions about the supply chain and their overall infosec worldview. Quite a few doubt this Bloomberg report, their skepticism heightened by the carefully worded denials offered by affected and relevant parties Apple, Amazon, Supermicro, and China. Apple provided an itemization of what it believed Bloomberg Businessweek got wrong along with its denial.

I’ll have more on this in a future post. Yes, indeedy.

~ 2 ~

A cooperative, organized response by Britain, The Netherlands, U.S., and Canada today included the indictment of seven Russians by the U.S. for conspiracy, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to launder money. The Russians have been identified as members of a GRU team organized out of a facility in Moscow, working on hacking and a disinformation influence campaign focused on anti-doping entities and non-Russian Olympic athletic competitors.

Note the underlined bit in this excerpt from the indictment (pdf) — the last indictment I copied with similar wording was that of Evgeny Buryakov and his two comrades, the three spies based in New York City who worked with “Male-1”, now known to be Carter Page. Who are the known and unknown? Persons who have flipped or co-conspirators yet to be named?

The UK released a statement as did the Canadians, and Netherlands issued a joint statement with the UK about the entirety of spying for which this GRU team is believed to be responsible, including an attempt to breach the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) facility analyzing the Novichok nerve agent used to poison the Skripals in the UK as well as chemicals used against Syrians.

Cryptocurrency news outlets report concerns that this indictment reveals the extent of USDOJ’s ability to trace cryptocurrency.

An interesting coincidence took place overnight as well — Russian Deputy Attorney General Saak Karapetyan died last night when an unauthorized helicopter flight crashed northeast of Moscow. Karapetyan had been linked this past January to Natalia Veselnitskaya and an attempt to recruit Switzerland’s top investigator as double-agents. But Karapetyan had also been involved in Russia’s response to the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the aftermath of the Skripals’ poisoning in the UK.

What remarkable timing.

One might wonder if this accident had anything to do with the unusual release of GRU personnel details by the Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) and the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice during their joint statement today.

By comparing the released identity documents, passports, automobile registrations and the address provided when cars were rented, the identities of a total 305 GRU agents may have been identified by bellingcat and The Insider including the four out of the seven men wanted by the U.S. for the anti-doping hackingas well as attempted breach of OPCW.

The identity of the four GRU agents accused of targeting the OPCW was cinched by a taxi receipt in one agent’s pocket from a location on the road next to the GRU’s facility in Russia. Four agents also had consecutive passport numbers.

What remarkably bad opsec.

~ 1 ~

As for the impending vote on Brett Kavanaugh:

– Senator Heidi Heitkamp is voting her conscience — NO on Kavanaugh.
– Senator Joe Manchin is now the lone Dem holdout; he says he’s still listening but hasn’t seen anything incriminating from Kavanaugh’s adulthood. (Gee, I wonder why.)
– Senator Bob Menendez didn’t mince words. He said “It’s a bullshit investigation.” (He should know what a thorough investigation looks like).

And the beer-loving former Yale frat boy had an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal which pleads with us to lose all intelligence and believe that he is really very neutral. I am not even going to link to that POS which has re-enraged women all over the country.


Continue calling your senators to thank them for a NO vote on Kavanaugh so that they aren’t hearing right-wing demands alone. Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121

~ 0 ~

This is an open thread. Sic ’em.

241 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    From Kavanaugh’s op-ed:

    As Justice Kennedy showed us, a judge must be independent, not swayed by public pressure.

    As Judge Kavanaugh showed us last week, he is neither independent nor unswayed by public pressure.

    Again from Kavanaugh:

    My time in high school and college, more than 30 years ago, has been ridiculously distorted.

    Given Kavanaugh’s definition of “Devil’s Triangle” and other statements he made, this sounds like an admission against interest.

    Again from Kavanaugh:

    I have been known for my courtesy on and off the bench. I have not changed.

    Either this is a lie, or his testimony last week suggests that he has a very twisted definition of “courtesy.”

  2. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    If Kavenaugh (after his nomination by Pres Pussygrabber) is appointed by a Congress that refused to even hold a hearing on Merrick Garland, it will further demolish the legitimacy of SCOTUS, Congress, and the Presidency.

    As for the Bloomberg revelations: fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck…!

    • Eureka says:

      Plus there are all of those Congressional settlements-with-NDAs for untold horrors.  I have wondered lately how that is impacting this whole mess.

  3. clairence says:

    I am in awe of the fact that Kavanaugh said “Devil’s Triangle” was a drinking game, considering the specific drinking-related accusations of his behavior with a friend. Can that be construed as a confession?

  4. Tracy says:

    With the ACA repeal, that passed the cloture vote, and was voted down in the final vote, correct?

    Also, heard late last night that Senate-R Danes [?] has to fly home to give his daughter away on Saturday, and he will not miss that. Therefore, final vote (if it passes cloture) would be Sunday – allowing more time to build steam against Kav – someone should do a piece on all of the people who tried to contact the FBI and couldn’t. The major newspapers should publish sworn statements from witnesses who did not get their case heard. All hands on deck to get all the corroborating testimony and evidence out there that was missed by the FBI.

    And if Kav doesn’t pass cloture, we can start putting an end to this process. What are the chances, anybody want to wager a guess?

    • JD12 says:

      Yes, that’s correct.

      I believe McConnell scheduled the vote for 10:30. Then you have 30 hours debate, so anytime after 5pm Sat they can vote.

      There’s a decent chance the same thing happens as the ACA repeal vote. I don’t think Kavanaugh has broad support, and he really crossed a line that judges can’t cross. The number of people and groups that have withdrawn their endorsements is pretty remarkable. His op-ed in the WSJ seems kind of desperate.

      I really don’t think McConnell would hold the vote on a weekend if he were confident, but we shall see.

  5. Nigel says:

    The Bloomberg story is an excellent piece.

    I note that later versions of the spy chip were actually embedded in the fibreglass of the motherboard, which rather suggests the comprehensive co-operation of the factories in question, going some way beyond doing Chinese intelligence a favour.

    • Will Twiner says:

      since the factories are in China, it is my understanding that the government is a part owner of the fabrication business.  It’s more like “following the directives of the boss” than “doing a favor”.  Why is there not a microchip industry maintained in the US for the exclusive manufacture of components for the military?  Why allow an asset of a foreign competitor to manufacture your controller boards?  It’s almost like the government doesn’t take this infosec stuff seriously…

        • Jonathan says:

          Exactly. The United States indulges in a ridiculous amount of nostalgia for WWII. The way the whole country was organized around the common goal. What our policy makers don’t want to get, is that China is organized that way, right now, with the whole country set up to gain economic power and influence at the expense of the United States and the rest of the world.

          Our companies are in the untenable position of competing against China as single entities, whereas the Chinese state-owned or state controlled enterprises enjoy full government backing. Moreover most of the US companies operating in China are willfully naive about the Chinese designs on their intellectual property and actually are dumb enough to think that over the long term the Chinese will allow foreigners to make real money there. They really think they are saving money by “exploiting” cheap Chinese labor. It’s the Chinese who play the America card (looking at you, Henry Kissinger).

  6. skua says:


    With K appointed, Putin will have brought the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary into disrepute.

    I’d always wondered what real-world application there was for Russians’ “understanding of the human condition”.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      Thanks for this comment. I think about this a lot. This is my nightmare come to pass. It’s good to at least know some others are noticing things in this way.

      • skua says:

        There are more than a few. I find sharing cat photos, and swearing fit to make a pirate cringe, in the teaming crowds at Wonkette beneficial. Do take care of yourself, we need all the good people available.

  7. Will Twiner says:

    gee, maybe it wasn’t the best idea EVER to allow companies partially owned by foreign competitor nations to DESIGN AND MANUFACTURE controller boards for MILITARY HARDWARE.

    If only there were some sort of doctrine which placed control of such vital infrastructure in the exclusive hands of the state…

  8. Will Twiner says:

    from the Apple non denial denial
    ” We did not uncover any _unusual_ vulnerabilities in the servers we purchased from Super Micro when we updated the firmware and software according to our standard procedures.”
    this is the sort of statement your marketing department makes when it first realizes you have a problem. No UNUSUAL vulnerabilities? When we updated FIRMWARE? So just the usual vulnerabilities or not during the firmware updates or both? Since when would you expect to discover a hardware hack during a firmware update?

    • rg says:

      Notice that the unusual vulnerabilities were not discovered using their standard procedures.
      Not unlike a non-discovery of character issues in a sham FBI investigation, no?

  9. Kokuanani says:

    Retired SC Justice John Paul Stevens said, during an informal panel in Orlando, that he’d originally been in favor of Kavanaugh but after viewing his “performance” changed his mind and thought he should not be on the court.

    K opponents ought to hit that, plus the 1500+ law professors who oppose him.  They can’t ALL be flaming liberals [and indeed Stevens was appointed by a Republican].

    • Peterr says:

      Stevens may have been appointed by a conservative Republican (Gerald Ford), but with his opinions in cases like Hamdan v Rumsfeld and his dissents like DC v Heller, Citizens United and Bush v Gore, the GOP was glad to see him leave the court. His opinion of Kavanaugh’s unsuitability will have zero traction among today’s GOP.

  10. Trip says:

    Since this escaped a lot of attention, I thought I’d re-up, in light of the FBI background check (hoping it was not directed internally through the lens of partisanship):
    Christie may have been paid laundered money by Malaysian fugitive, reports say

    Low retained the Atlanta firm of King & Spaulding to “advise him on the ongoing investigations,” according to the Journal. Christie had hired Christopher Wray when Wray was a partner at King & Spaulding to represent him in the Bridgegate lane-closure scandal. Wray later went on to become the head of the FBI after Trump chose him to replace fired FBI director James Comey. There is no indication that Christie or any of Low’s lawyers were aware that the money they received could have been laundered, according to the Journal. Christie currently represents Low in an assets-forfeiture case in California, though a spokesman for the former governor told the Journal that Christie’s connection to Low starts and ends at that case.

    A reminder: Christie put state workers’ pensions into the Chatham investment group that owns the National Enquirer. Rudy Giuliani referred clients to Christie in his new law firm.

    (I’m going to split this up because of links.)

    • Trip says:

      Trump’s longtime lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, and Bobby Burchfield, a lawyer who has served as the Trump Organization’s outside ethics adviser, also did legal work for Low, according to the report.

      And the missing Bridgegate phone (with deleted messages) was in the possession of Wray:

      Andrea BernsteinVerified account @AndreaWNYC

      Re-upping this one, fr @mattkatz00 & me, when FBI Chief Wray was tapped
      “Mr. Wray helped to keep Mr. Christie’s personal cellphone out of the hands of prosecutors. The cellphone might have explained 12 missing Christie texts messages..”
      Bridgegate Lives!

      None of this proves intentional nefarious acts, but the small circle of players makes me uneasy.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Trump Organization’s “outside ethics adviser”.

        Is that ambiguous, because his advice is meant to be outside the bounds of ethics?  Or is it a contradiction in terms regarding an organization (and an industry) that is outside the bounds of ethics?  Or, like other industries, is it just a lobbyist renamed?

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          Damn. Beat me to it. Advising how to always remain outside ethics. Business card: No job too unethical. But more seriously, can anyone imagine what that job must have entailed?

  11. James Hester says:

    If Dem party is loaded with Schmuck Schumer, Diane Feinstein, Senator Pfizer or black Spartacus on his donkey, Sleazy Joe, Nancy and alike why blame the moronic party whose members think 5th grade was their senior year. What you sow what you reap. Get rid of the old hacks and give the young a chance.

    • Trip says:

      Um, what? The collective age of the cruelty and prevarication (GOP) party leaders is about 1000 yo. The people aren’t flocking to the Democrats because they aren’t young enough, but the answer is flocking to soulless walking carcasses on the Republican-side? Do you even understand your own criticism/argument?

    • P J Evans says:

      That comment makes you sound like an idjit. Or a Republican – though there’s a lot less difference between those than there should be.

  12. oldoilfieldhand says:


    Don’t feed the trolls… It is difficult to get a man (or woman, looking at you Sen Collins) to understand something when his (or her) salary depends upon his (or her) not understanding it.

    Apologies to Upton Sinclair

    • Pete says:

      Cloture vote 51-49 to proceed.  I do not see how they (R) would risk a final vote tomorrow if Daines (R) is not there to vote.  I know Collins, Flake, and Manchin voted Yes.

  13. Lulymay says:

    I think Kavanagh is compromised in some way (most likely financially) and that’s the way your WH goon likes them. He needs a button to push to get him out of hot water of his own making and this is the perfect candidate to put in place. As well, after seeing the look on his wife’s face during his temper tantrum, I’d say she’s seen that scene many times before and was horrified he was carrying it out in public, no less. I could very well be wrong in my thinking, but my gut says I’m not. As you can tell, I am in no way schooled in the rule of law.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      I thought that before, but after reading the Wired article about Gamergate, QAnon, et al, I now believe that was an intentional performance for the benefit of the conspiracy theory rabble. Kavanaugh’s rant hit most of the highlights of the misogynistic, the Clintons-are-Satan’s-Spawn world-view. The GOP Senators know he’s going to be confirmed–they’re not worried about a bunch of ivory tower law professors. He writes an oped to help maintain appearances, but they’re really not worried about witnesses or victims or facts or democracy. Also, I can’t help but think it is significant that Mark Judge has written quite a bit for the batshit network discussed in the article. Lots of coincidences these days.

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    What goes around comes around, at least in South Korea, so there’s hope:

    The former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak has been sentenced to 15 years in prison, becoming the country’s fourth ex-leader convicted of corruption….after Seoul Central district court found him guilty of bribery and embezzlement.

    Lee served as president from 2008-13 and his conviction follows the jailing in April of his successor, Park Geun-hye… Park is serving a 33-year sentence for corruption and was forced from office amid large-scale protests.

    (Links omitted.)

    Note the last sentence: “was forced from office amid large-scale protests.”  Things don’t just happen, as the continuing protests of Kavanaugh’s nomination demonstrate.

    • Trip says:

      This is a really interesting article and a continuation of a theme I posted about above.

      Malaysia’s $6.5 Billion Scandal Almost Sank Its Democracy
      The cover-up of the 1MDB affair was taking the country toward autocracy — until the people won the day.
      …As polling day neared, it became increasingly clear that Najib’s usual tricks weren’t working. The long-term power of his party had also brought with it a fatal inertia. With crowds flocking to opposition campaign gatherings, the government resorted to cynically suppressing voter turnout: polling day was called on a weekday; postal votes didn’t arrive; and a strict deadline of 5 p.m. was called while hundreds still waited in line to vote. In some areas, voters were even rejected because they didn’t meet an arbitrary and newly invented “dress code.”
      None of this was enough to save him. Najib believed the complexity of the 1MDB fraud made it incomprehensible to most voters in the key swing seats. Yet he was up against the wily Mahathir Mohamad, a 92-year-old political veteran who boiled it down to “Najib is not a rich man — he steals money,” and scathingly referred to Najib’s loyalists as farmyard animals receiving dedak, or chicken feed, from their master.

      Excerpt highlight:
      While President Donald Trump has talked scathingly of the DOJ’s foreign corruption agenda (and influential figures like donor Eliot Broidy (sic) were reportedly in talks with Jho Low to attach a $75 million success fee if he could end the 1MDB investigation), the 1MDB case is a striking instance of how anti-corruption can pay off not only morally, but geopolitically for the United States.

  15. Omali says:

    I’ve been thinking about the fake outrage and hissy fits from the Republicans on the SJC.  But it ought to be the DEMS who are outraged.  How DARE they try to foist this nominee on us?

    He is credibly accused of more than one sexual assault while stumbling, black out drunk.  The Pussy Grabber in Chief hamstrung the FBI investigation so that it was guaranteed that no actual evidence would be produced.  They were sure to shield Kavanaugh from testifying to agents because of the almost certain perjury that would follow.

    In his shameful committee testimony he repeatedly lied to Democratic senators – about having first heard about the Ramirez assault charge in the New Yorker article (he had actually been involved in witness tampering to suppress or at least put his own spin on the story), about the definitions of his yearbook sexual slang terms, about obtaining and using emails stolen from Sen Leahy.

    His sullen frat-boy responses to the Dem senators should have disqualified him immediately – questioning them about their own drinking habits, refusing to even answer some of the questions – who can forget his squirming under Dick Durbin’s  attempts to press him to ask the WH for an FBI investigation to clear his name.  Then the pissy expression on his face when he lapsed into silence and refused to even answer the question.  Like a red-faced, pouting 2 year old crossing his arms and insisting on sitting in his own filthy diaper.

    The final meltdown and hysterical screed about dark, left wing money and Clinton conspiracies was vintage Trump.

    We all ought to be outraged by this direct assault on the court – all in order to prevent women from asserting control over their own bodies, and to present a big, fat, get-out-of-jail free card to the sorry excuse for a president who is sitting in Mueller’s cross hairs.

    Flake and Coons both stated in front of television cameras that lying by this candidate would be the end of his nomination.  He lied.  Repeatedly.  What the hell are we going to do about it?

    This is an abomination.

  16. Tracy says:

    Reported, Murkowski will vote NO for cloture – Flake and Collins a YES (as per MSNBC).

    (I had a dream last night that Murkowski and Manchin were “no” votes, I’m going to see how that holds up… my dream did not tell me about Flake and Collins ;-) ).

  17. viget says:

    Apparently the final vote is tomorrow. The Republican from MT will not be there, so the Republicans can only afford 1 defection if Manchin votes yes.

    Since McConnell is not rescheduling the vote, then I guess that means they know that all of Collins, Flake and Manchin are voting yes. I can’t imagine that Murkowski would vote no on cloture, but yes on the final vote.

    I really hope Schumer works on Manchin. It’s kind of a joke that he votes yes here.

    • viget says:

      Never mind.   The MT senator says he’ll fly back for the final vote if needed.  So things are still somewhat up in the air.  Of course that just gives one of Collins or Flake cover to vote no and still win.  I think Manchin is a yes here.

    • Anon says:

      Unless Mancin has been promised something magical from Trump for voting yes (and he is dumb enough to trust that) then he should take Lisa Murkowski’s offer of cover and vote no. All of the polling on Kavanaugh shows that he is popular with very dedicated Republicans and noone else which means that Mancin would gain nothing for voting for Kavanaugh since those people would never vote for him anyway. He has a target on his back either way but alienating a group who never trusted him is no big loss compared to the people who will actually cast a vote for him.

      On a different note no doubt Mitch McConnell will be working on Lisa Murkowski as well. The last time they even got Ryan Zinke to make threats so any calls you can make to say thank you will help to shore her up. Even if she is outvoted it is still very meaningful that she votes against.

      DC Office: (202)-224-6665

  18. jynx_infinity says:

    Apropos the Karapetyan helicopter crash, now the President of Interpol has disappeared on a flight from France to China. Thoughts? I know I have some very paranoid ones.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      While in a helicopter on “an unauthorized flight” northeast of Moscow.  One would think that would be highly-controlled airspace.  Must have been mechanical failure.

      The apparent disappearance of the head of Interpol is even more intriguing. As a former deputy director of security in China, his appointment to lead the international police coordinating agency was highly controversial. But he would know the system intimately, including where all the bodies are buried. More to come.

      • Anon says:

        I believe that the exact legalistic term I read for her detention was: Residential Supervision. Apparently under PRC it is legal to “supervise” someone before they are charged with any crime. It speeds up the plea process.

  19. silcominc says:

    There were some reports that the statute of limitations on sex crimes in Maryland is unlimited and that Ford would be filing a complaint against Kavanaugh but I have not heard anything about that since last week. Anyone know anything about it? It would, I think, be a first if he is voted in – to have a sitting Justice charged with a felony.

    • bmaz says:

      It is absolute bullshit. There is no statute of limitation “now” in Maryland, but there was in 1982. And you cannot retroactively alter criminal statutes of limitation. There will be no Maryland prosecution.

  20. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Elsewhere: Robert Costa continues to assert that there will be a Mueller obstruction report after the midterms and yet avoids providing any sourcing to validate that belief.

    • harpie says:

      Wow, this topic seems to be cropping up in many places right now. From the Gizmodo article:

      […] Strumia delivered a pseudoscientific talk arguing that male particle physicists are the true victims of gender discrimination. […] 

      • Rayne says:

        I think he whined about being denied positions, too, didn’t he? If he’s always acted like this I can see why. Going forward, everything Strumia has done or will do will be subject to even greater scrutiny because he’s not acting based on carefully collected data and deliberate consideration — he’s acting like a spoiled prat.

  21. orionATL says:

    this concerns me. i see no reason not to investigate much further whether apple and amazon welcomed the presence of these chips, given their “carefully worded denials” – denials written by their lawyers who may have obtained their skill in gaslighting about spying from watching national security admin officials and lawyers use exceptionally misleading wording when addressing congress and guiding press releases.

    what info might apple or amazon have wanted to spy on their customers to get, if that was their intent?
    “…The chip could undermine encryption and passwords, making any system open to those who know about its presence. According to Bloomberg reporters  Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley, the chips found their way into motherboards used by Apple and Amazon.
    Information security folks are scrambling right now because this report rocks their assumptions about the supply chain and their overall infosec worldview. Quite a few doubt this Bloomberg report, their skepticism heightened by the carefully worded denials offered by affected and relevant parties Apple, Amazon, Supermicro, and China. Apple provided an itemization of what it believed Bloomberg Businessweek got wrong along with its denial…”

    “…Can Supermicro deliver its legendary server-component reliability with the overclocking features we’ve grown to love? We gauge the company’s progress in its third generation of enthusiast-oriented motherboards.
    Famed for its reliability in the server market, Supermicro was once known to enthusiasts only for its cases. The company finally decided to dip a toe into the overclocking market… But [was] a company that was most experienced building business-oriented hardware….”

    Supermicro X11DAC BIOS and Remote Management

    Remote management access is the same as other Supermicro motherboards, enter the IP address and login with ADMIN/ADMIN and you are in. Note, we suggest changing this login as soon as possible…”

  22. Anon says:

    The Register has an interesting analysis of the Bloomberg story which parses the denials from Apple and Amazon as well as some interesting technical questions about the chip itself. While I don’t want to do a disservice to their analysis they do point out that Apple and Amazon were both unusually definitive in their denials, definitive in a way that is dangerous for a publicly traded company but probably necessary for anyone who wants to keep selling in the PRC. While on the other side the chip in question is by no means a common one. It would take some very advanced chipfab systems to make it which would point to some heavy expense and government involvement. It would also be more costly and difficult than say replacing one of the existing chips on the board with another one that looks just like it but behaves differently. Not dispositive proof but definitely a factor.

    • Rayne says:

      Bah. I can poke all kinds of holes in their denials. And I am. Wait for it.

      Just keep in mind the amount of money on the line. Apple is the most valuable brand and company in the world, can buy small nations with its pocket change. A bad day for Apple in the stock market is a bad day for the entire market because so many funds have bulked out their funds with this sure thing stock. It’s absolutely essential Apple issues firm denials. Capisce?

      Disclosure: I own Apple stock. I do not personally own any Apple devices.

      • Anon says:

        Rayne, as you will note I actually stated just that. The denials are risky on the one hand but also essential to keep doing business in the PRC which for Apple particularly accounts for most of their sales growth over the past few years. The Register article that I was paraphrasing also does a good job poking holes in their replies and notes how strong they are for publicly traded companies that are traditionally so fact-averse.

    • cat herder says:

      There are no schematics published for PC/server/laptop (or phone/tablet/other random internet device) mainboards that I’m aware of. BIOS/firmware is closed source. ICs physically altered to remove ID markings are common, either because the IC is a fake or to hinder reverse engineering or hackers who just like to poke around to see what goes where. ‘Hiding’ a component of that size on a very complex 6- or 8-layer board and its code in the BIOS would be trivial. The only part of the story that smells a little funny is the part about some of the devices being embedded inside the PCB – almost certainly unnecessary.

      (yes, I own an oscilloscope and more than one soldering iron) :)

      • Anon says:

        Sigh, again I was paraphrasing their story.

        And to do justice to the Register they were not claiming that hiding something that size would be hard. What they noted was that *making* something that size is and requires specialized chip fab techniques. This does not argue against the story, what it does is mean that if the items were in fact smuggled on then they came from a very long-planned and deep pocketed effort and not as a one off.

        • cat herder says:

          I wasn’t disagreeing with you!

          Just my own limited insight from limited poking around at things, to back up the idea that the Apple/Amazon execs are either stupid or lying if they think this is something that would have been discovered by their geeks doing normal server room stuff. I’m not a complete dummy but still far from an expert, and there’s no way I have the tools to spot a chip like that as ‘out of place’ even if you told me exactly what to look for.

  23. Trip says:

    I don’t understand the advantage of having Manchin as a Democrat, when he votes with Republicans. If any advantage could be wrung out of him, you’d think it would be solidarity on such a significant/important vote on SCOTUS. I don’t get it. Why does another on a body count for Dems matter when he votes Republican?

    • Anon says:

      I suspect that many many people are asking that question right now. And I suspect that many many donors are calling about that right now.

      But then you might ask the same of Cuomo.

    • Rayne says:

      It’s not up to anybody to determine if Manchin is a Democrat except for Manchin and his state party. He identifies as a Dem and that’s that — kind of like Bernie Sanders deciding be a Dem in 2015 and Joe Lieberman being a Dem for most of his career until he went independent.

      Really can’t get it through to people there is much less infrastructure to the Democratic Party than they think. If you show up at a local party meeting, pay your nominal party dues ($25 here in my county), you’re a Democrat. Show up and volunteer to do some work, make a few friends in the local party, throw your name in the hat for party delegate, and presto, you’re a delegate. That’s it, that’s the whole enchilada. It’ ain’t rocket science.

      • Anon says:

        True but there is infrastructure and party “leadership funds” to maintain someone like Mancin, funds that could be directed elsewhere. Whether or not he declares as a Democrat may be immaterial but whether or not the party keeps funding his tight races rather than say anywhere else.

        • Trip says:

          Yep. When you think about the more progressive candidates who are sometimes starved for funds, it makes little sense. If he was conservative but stuck with Dems on the big issues, or when they were absolutely doing the right thing, that would be a different story.

        • Rayne says:

          The STATE party. Think carefully about this. If no other viable candidate is willing to primary Manchin — viable, meaning someone with money or who can and will raise adequate funds, can garner the support of the state’s conserva-Dem base, willing to do the door knocking — then the STATE party has only one thing it can do for a candidate who identifies as a Democrat and has the support of the Democratic constituency.

          Give the incumbent the money.

          Secondly, DSCC and DCCC are intended primarily to support incumbents. Guess what? That’s Manchin.

          When the Democratic Party is at 48-49 seats in the Senate and they have a Democratic incumbent in a red state, what do you honestly think is going to happen?

          I need to write something because my blood pressure doesn’t need this. There are several answers, the first of which is: Help recruit a viable alternative to Manchin, and second, WIN and KEEP MORE DEMOCRATIC SENATE SEATS IN OTHER STATES. Jesus…like Flake’s seat. I’m out.

        • bmaz says:

          They are running conservaDem for Flake’s seat, and I am going to vote for her!. She may suck, but any D is better than a R. And she is, by a light year right now, the only Dem that had a shot statewide.

  24. harpie says:

    Our elected officials, via dave_brown24

     Maria Bartiromo [Fox News] asked Chuck Grassley this morning if he thinks George Soros is paying the elevator protesters.

    “I have heard so many people believe that. I tend to believe it,” Grassley said.

    Trump tweeted the accusation about 80 minutes later

    Trump’s tweet:

    6:03 AM – 5 Oct 2018 The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers 

    • Anon says:

      The scary part is that what Grassley says is probably true. Given how rarely Senators or even Representatives have unscripted interactions with the public it is highly likely that he is surrounded by a partisan bubble that makes a 24/7 Fox viewer seem open to the world. If he has just one or two aides that are willing to retread this lie then it becomes common knowledge in the office and thus fact for him.

  25. harpie says:

    Daniel Dale is currently writing a thread about what’s happening right now in Susan Collin’s office in DC:
    Survivors of sexual assault are delivering tearful speeches in Susan Collins’s Capitol office. One woman says this month is the first time she’s ever come close to talking about being assaulted. / […] /

    • Tracy says:

      Thanks, Harpie!

      But, doesn’t it sound like Collins isn’t even there…Doesn’t want her mind changed?…

      Also from that feed: McConnell says he’s just had lunch w/ several senators including Collins and that there will be a vote tomorrow and that he’s optimistic.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        Collins proved her lack of integrity when she called the FBI fig leaf investigation “thorough”; there’s no reason to expect her to stumble upon a moral compass by Saturday.

        • Tracy says:

          Right – she kept saying that there was no corroborating evidence – but this was b/c the FBI was instructed not to look for it.

          Too bad that the ABA and 2,400+ law professors think he is unfit. Oh well.

        • P J Evans says:

          That also ignores the other stuff where it was already shown that he’d lied to congress while testifying. It’s not just the sexual-assault lies, and the drinking lies, and the lies about who and when.

  26. harpie says:

    Tough votes reveal character — and the importance of women in power  
    Jennifer Rubin October 5 at 1:27 PM

    […] Before we get to Collins, let’s look at what has already occurred. Two women, one Democrat and one Republican, each voted in a way contrary to political self-interest. Both saw something bigger than fairness to one nominee was at stake. […] The reason the GOP and White House persist in pushing Kavanaugh is specifically the desire to rally their base by stoking male grievance. […] Trump and the Republicans made it about gender, about a “scary time” for men. […] The vote will define Collins one way or another, and her vote will reverberate for decades

    Nine minutes later via Frank Thorp
    Tweet: 10:36 AM – 5 Oct 2018 MCCONNELL says he just had lunch with with a group of Senate republicans including @SenatorCollins:  “We’re heading towards a final vote tomorrow afternoon, and I’m optimistic.”

    • Tracy says:

      You’re an amazing sleuth!! I always look forward to your informative posts.

      I wonder how important it is to Susan Collins the history of the moment, with her as a woman in the center of it, versus the obvious strong pressure from her party.

      She also has the chance to do something heroic and alter the course of history – or just to conform with the debasement of our civic discourse, politics and institutions.

      • Anon says:

        Or she has a chance to shore up her role with the party and to get herself in line for a nice lobbying job when she retires just like Flake. Self interest may be a strong factor here. We will see at 3.

        • Anon says:

          Of course this kind of signaling is also about projecting pressure. “Optimistic” does not mean “guaranteed”.

  27. bmaz says:

    And, as predicted, COLLINS NOW OFFICIALLY A YES according to Graham.

    So, it is over. Welcome to Justice Kavanaugh.

      • bmaz says:

        Oh, I dunno, when Graham McConnell and leadership has a long lunch with her and Graham comes out and says it is done, it is probably done.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      And she says it with a smarmy, school marmish fuck you to intellectuals and thoughtful opponents.  She seems to think she is being centrist.  In fact, she is being remarkably credulous and intellectually dishonest.

      Her list of citations and her charming belief in what Kavanaugh says rather than what he does is nauseating.  Kavanaugh’s rave reviews are as one-sided as her defense.  She ignores, for example, that those she says support him, the ABA, for example, have unequivocally withdrawn their support.  She is an intellectual and political fraud.

      As for the long run Senator, we’re all dead.  It’s the short run we need to worry about.

  28. Trip says:

    Oh, fuck you, Collins. You have no moral standing to lecture. Why didn’t you just say “yes” right away, instead of pretending to be thoughtful; you disingenuous, duplicitous fuck.

    • JD12 says:

      I really would’ve preferred if Flake gave the speech and Collins just told the reporter yes as she got in the car instead. This is awful.

      • Trip says:

        She went all in, FULL TRUMP. She can never, ever again, make derogatory comments about Trump’s behavior.

  29. Doctor My Eyes says:

    On September 11, 2001, I was in couples therapy sobbing. The loss of life was painful, but I was sobbing because I felt what was coming. I kept saying, “Now they’ll do whatever they want. There will be war forever.” My ex and our therapist were kindly giving me the old, “There there”, “Not necessarily”, and such–soothing the hysteric. Well, I sobbed when I read bmaz’ post. I’ve got that same feeling today, only worse. Psychopathic mobsters now control the power in our country and by extension around the world. Tomorrow will be a very dark day. Goodbye experiment in democracy. Thank you, founders–you built a damn good government and did everything you could to warn us of the dangers we would face.

  30. Kai-Lee says:

    Doctor – Collins begins defense of her decision by discussing “special interests” on the LEFT. Yep. Totally out of it. Clean out the whole slate – they’re cognitively and morally deficient. And create a 70 years of age mandatory retirement in senators and justices.

  31. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I believe Sen. Collins misses the mark on the issue of Brett Kavanaugh.

    Her belief that Kavanaugh thinks that no president is above the law is so 1990s as to deserve outright rebuke.  He believes that only regarding Republican presidents.  His beliefs about precedent are just as malleable and one-sided.

    The point about Kavanaugh is precisely that me makes decisions on who people are and not what the law says.  If Sen. Collins learned no other lesson from his hearings and his early life, she should have learned that.

    Her defense of Kavanaugh, instead of defending the interests of her constituents and of women, minorities, and generally everyone not a for-profit corporation, means that she deserves to lose her seat at the next election.

    • Trip says:

      She had the audacity to call it circus, when her leader is the goddam barker for the freak show that was the old conservative white men howling like rabid wolves in the big tent, while Kavanaugh played the man of a thousand angry distorted faces, and dear leader mocked the injured and vulnerable. She has the nerve to talk about fucking special interests when the Koch financed federalist society and Leonard Leo made selections of SCOTUS picks and denied documents.

      She has proven herself to be a soulless ghoul, a monster of self-interest, along with the others.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        Oh yeah, special interests.  I’ve been wanting to comment on here about Mancin’s professed obligation to vote the will of so, so many of his constituents in WV. Were they demanding that he sign the tax bill, too? And so on. I wish I could be mad. I’m not mad anymore.

    • Tracy says:

      It’s the worst day in a long time. Since Nov 9th, 2016? It has been a seriously bad couple of years for us. It’s really heart breaking.

      I think if Dems were going to stop this they needed to make a bigger stink about the FBI investigation sham all along.

      Anyway – he’s totally craven. Gives me no hope that he retains his seat if he casts votes like this anyway – what is the point of calling oneself a Democrat? It’s not like he stood up to his party to do the Right Thing, which I could understand, but he stood up to his party, who were doing the Right Thing, do to the Wrong Thing.

  32. Tracy says:

    This is an excellent NYT opinion about the a legitimacy crisis for the Supreme Court due to presidents who didn’t win the majority vote nominating justices who were confirmed by senators who won fewer votes than those who voted against. Guess how many there are….?

    This is why the structure of the “upper chamber” of the Senate, w/ two members from each state regardless of population, that was agreed to in <strong>1787</strong> out of fear of “mob rule” (what a “democracy” was considered back then), is just not feasible today, for a country that purports to try to be democratic even though it was set up as a republic (and actually, an oligarchy), and with large swaths of the population concentrated on the coasts and in cities.

    Unfortunately b/c of those structural biases in the original document, it is very hard to break from being an oligarchy, which is apparent today in our Senate, presidency and courts, which are all three becoming more and more unrepresentative of the majority’s will.

    • JD12 says:

      From the link,

      the 54 senators who voted to elevate Judge Gorsuch had received around 54 million votes, and the 45 senators who opposed him got more than 73 million.

      The 20 million vote differential is crazy.

      Originally state legislatures were supposed to choose the US senators so they could stay connected to their home states. It’s a lot easier to hold them accountable that way. Now they head off to Washington and represent corporations and wealthy donors instead of their constituents.

      • bmaz says:

        Baloney. Almost all of those are from states with GOP controlled state government who, left to their own devices, might well “appoint” even worse Senators.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        There was never much accountability when state legislatures chose their Senators.  Smoke-filled rooms then were real smoke-filled rooms, and deals got made the way, if not in the environment, they do now.

        The bigger problem I see is that a place like California, New York, or Ohio has two Senators, and Montana, Wyoming, and North Dakota have two Senators each.  The overweighting of rural power was intended, but it is far past its sell-by date.

        • harpe says:

          There’s a good map at this link that diagrams the truth of that statement:

          10:49 AM – 28 Sep
          2018 As the Senate votes on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, let’s remember the same
          amount of people live in Los Angeles as these 7 rural, mostly white states.
          They have 14 Senators while LA shares 2 with the rest of California. // We don’t live in a democracy where everyone
          has an equal say

        • harpie says:

          [I really want to get this info out there, and have tried twice…so if this ends up being a repeat, please delete…thanks, and sorry.]

          There’s a map at this link that shows what you’re talking about here.

          10:49 AM – 28 Sep 2018 As the Senate votes on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, let’s remember the same amount of people live in Los Angeles as these 7 rural, mostly white states. They have 14 Senators while LA shares 2 with the rest of California. // We don’t live in a democracy where everyone has an equal say

      • JD12 says:

        How much worse can they be? It would be best if senators didn’t serve special interests at all, but when they do, isn’t it better if they’re local?

        Susan Collins isn’t up for reelection this year, so it was pointless to raise money for her mystery 2020 opponent. But in the old system Maine voters who oppose her Kavanaugh vote could put that money to use in this year’s state elections.

        Maybe there are better solutions, it wasn’t quite so bad before McConnell went with the nuclear option.

  33. Tracy says:

    I’m struggling to get on the Crowdpac for supporting Collins’ opponent… does that mean it’s so busy?…

    Don’t get mad – get even!!! (well, you can get mad, too!!!) – But get strategic!!!

    • Rayne says:

      The site is crashing due to traffic volume. Another 24 hours isn’t going to hurt if you wait until tomorrow to make a donation.

      • Tracy says:

        Yes, and I did give earlier – just got back on the site, they have raised almost $500k since Collins’ grand ol’ “speech” – which is going to bury her in the end. Have increased their goal to $4mil and currently have almost $2.5mil! :-D

  34. harpie says:

    1] 1:33 PM – 5 Oct 2018

     The Judicial Crisis Network, which has spent millions supporting Kavanaugh’s nomination, says it’s launching a “thank you” campaign, starting with Sen. Collins

    2] 1:49 PM – 5 Oct 2018 

    George W Bush called Sen. Susan Collins several times over the past few weeks, a source tells @jeffzeleny. While Bush called a number of senators, he spoke repeatedly to Collins and reassured her about Kavanaugh’s character and temperament.

    3] Maybe she’ll get W’s voice on her answering machine.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Of course Shrub and, presumably, Big Dick brought out the big guns.  Lil’ Brett helped them organize their torture scheme and the controversial legal “advice” that underwrote it.  The cost of silence is a continuing expense.

      Politics being politics, I presume that Susan Collins will have no trouble paying for her next campaign, that post-senatorial work will be lucrative and not be hard to come by, and that the state of Maine can expect to receive any earmarks its governor and congressional delegation can think of asking for. Presumably, the same goes for every other hard to come by, “Yes” vote.

      Elections are said to have consequences.  There’s another saying that needs to get more play: what goes around, comes around.

      • harpie says:

        Let’s not forget Condi:
        Also, worth noting that Susan Collins had a handy excuse for literally every criticism of Kavanaugh EXCEPT fir the missing Bush era records. And she name dropped Condi Rice hard in that little speech.

    • harpie says:


      12:54 PM – 5 Oct 2018 Susan Collins’ referenced dark money spent against Kavanaugh, making no mention of the biggest player, by far: The Judicial Crisis Network — a dark money group funded almost entirely by another dark money group, run by people who are literally involved in the nomination process. / The fundraising for the Judicial Crisis Network — which is channeled through the Wellspring Committee — is coordinated by none other than Leonard Leo, who is one of the White House’s point people in picking judicial nominees / This is the same Leonard Leo who is tied to a $1 million contribution to Trump’s inauguration THAT IS STILL TOTALLY SECRET. // But none of this dark money merits a mention from Susan Collins 

      • Tracy says:

        Right – this part about the dark money was very disingenuous and hypocritical.

        Also, she used other far right conspiracy theorist talking points: that Blasey Ford was attacked, but not by Kavanaugh; that Julie Swetnick’s claims were “outrageous” and entirely a smear (when they were not even investigated); that SOMEONE must’ve leaked that letter (her LETTER was NEVER LEAKED – it was her story that partially leaked, perhaps by the WaPo, perhaps by her friends); and that SOMEONE seemed to be using Ford, by not telling her that the SJC would fly to her for her testimony.

        There were a lot of fishy parts of it. She was angry, she was NOT on the fence – the speech must have been a right wing conspiracy theorist’s dream.

        • Trip says:

          Most misogynist thing she could say. She feels bad for Dr Ford, but poor, poor girl is mixed up (read: insane/hysterical/not rational) and doesn’t know who did it to her, because it couldn’t be “our guy” (who lied under oath multiple times). She’s positively evil.

          At least this made me laugh:


          I kept waiting for her to tell us all about how much she likes beer.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The GOP’s Senators have been doing the full monty regarding projecting their techniques and priorities onto Democrats.  We can include dear sweet centrist Susan among them.

        But the dark money was all Rethuglican on this one, which demonstrates how much Collins was in the can after exchanging whatever she could squeeze out of Lindsey and Chuck.  A lot of tripe sausage got made in DC this week.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          We do think alike. I was just going to mention the projection.  It has been especially strong this week. It is also fascinating how projection at the personal level a la Kavanaugh and Trump matches the projection on the national level.  I presume the former is unconscious while the latter has to be calculated at least to a certain extent. Ever since W a reliable indicator of behavior among Reps is that if they accuse someone else of doing it, they are doing it themselves.

          The Reps create a circus atmosphere, then accuse the Dems of making it a circus.

          Dr. Ford’s whole life is affected negatively by her assault in high school and it’s future SC Justice Kavanaugh whose laugh has been RUINED! RUINED!

          Kavanaugh tries to get his Yale friends to stand up for him, then accuses Ramirez and others of trying to get their stories straight against him.

          Clinton and Lewinsky–enough said.

          There are many more examples. On the personal level, it is the behavior of people who are ashamed of themselves or dishonest with themselves about who they are, then believe that other people are guilty of what they deny in themselves.  Either Avattoir or EoH had an excellent description. It is a common behavior that we almost all engage in in some way or another. It is stunning to see the projection on the national scene, and hard to believe it is actually unconscious.

  35. Allison Holland says:

    want to know the price of democracy ? susan collins just recieved 2 million dollars right now in her campaign fund.

  36. Tracy says:

    I’m watching Ari Melber on delay, and Neera Tanden is saying that this was sewn up – that it was a McConnell strategy, to have Collins come out on the floor (with two other R-female senators behind her, I note – presenting a unified front), as a R-woman, and make a stark rebuke of the Democrat’s process, Blasey Ford’s credibility, partisanship, etc.

    It would explain why this speech was SO long, hit on SO many points, and as I mentioned above, seemed to take on a lot of the hard right talking points and conspiracy theories.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Susie delivered.  She got her 15 minutes of fame in the bargain, which she played to the hilt with a new suit, hair, and make-up.  She showed them hick Dems how sausage gets made in her town, amirite?

      • BobCon says:

        One of many infuriating things is that she gets nothing. Just as she got nothing for her vote on the 1% tax cuts.

        She is like Tony Blair, who turned to Bush after all of the embarassing support fot Iraq, and found that Bush would let Cheney block any and everything Blair asked for in return. Does she think Maine will get any rewards? Does she think her recommendation means anything now as far as White House nominations? Does she think she even gets Trump to call off the hounds when it comes to a primary challenge? She’s dreaming.

        Watch McConnell tell her with a barely disguised sneer that he has to think of Mississippi and Utah and Hobby Lobby and the Texas Homebuilders first, but she can go ahead and write up a memo for his staff to read when they have a chance. Watch Stephen Miller tell her with an undisguised sneer that the President will never take her calls, ever. She gets nothing.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Are you saying he might have exaggerated wildly in his puffy, red-faced performance?  He didn’t do it for mom, dad, apple pie and the girl next door?  He did it to satisfy his ambition, and to pay back his patrons?  Who could have predicted it?

  37. greengiant says:

    Whatever rational and progressive people are doing the misogynist right is on a roll the last two weeks /or/ polls are inaccurate. Probability of Democratic Senate down from 32 to 22 percent. That does beg the question though since media is totally baked then polls probably are also. Do these guys have any idea how many women have been sheltering in place in red counties since 2016?

    • Eureka says:

      I’ve been convinced for awhile that they are manipulating the polls, especially when things are cratering for 45 et al, like last week and during peak border separation news coverage.  Among other things I can think of, I have observed that they flood landlines with scam spam calls when telephone polls are going out.  Flooding a line with calls is a known technique of ne’er-do-wells.  For example they use it during SIM hijacking, where the idea is to make the phone rings so unrelenting, aversive, and not self-relevant that the victim misses the call from their service provider notifying them that their SIM card has been changed.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        Thanks for that. I was guessing that something like that is going on. What is disturbing is the extent to which the major television networks seem to feed narratives. My guess is that the “the right is all fired up” narrative started with television saying it. Having a lying media with an agenda is its own problem, of course.

  38. Trip says:

    Murkowski showed incredible courage. I just thought that should be mentioned. Let’s hope she sticks to it.

    • Tracy says:

      Yes, and I think she will! I agree with you. I think that history will show her to have been a progressive GOP – the rest of her party is stuck in the dark age back with all the 69-yo average SJC GOP.

      On the other hand, I think history will look back and severely frown at Collins and her grand “speech,” her legacy – defining moment for whatever is the opposite of courage and taking a stand – conformity? craven-ness?

      I also think that lots more is going to come out – all the FOIA requests, lots more sworn testimonies and statements made to Jane Mayer and others, op-eds, the ABA is reviewing his fitness… it is going to be a huge push for journalists to uncover more of what has been a huge sham and cover up in the name of nailing down that seat.

      This GOP is going the opposite way from the majority of society, and they will pay. In November, and in 2020, and in other ways, too, I look forward to it.

    • Anon says:

      Lisa Murkowski did show courage. That said she also has very specific reasons for opposing Kavanaugh. In the past he has argued against sustainable management of natural resources and an guaranteed priority of subsistence before other uses. He has also been supportive of efforts to force roads though wild areas for the benefit of corporations. And finally he is skeptical of native tribal rights and tribal sovereignty. This makes him absolutely unpalatable to most of her constituents particularly the Alaska Native groups who publicly came out against him, shortly followed by the Governor and other state level politicians.

      She cannot afford to offend them.

  39. Trip says:

    Two well-financed liberal groups that help elect Democratic candidates will not aid the campaigns of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin or Senate candidate Phil Bredesen because the two support Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Super PACs MoveOn and Priorities USA, which raises money to support Democrats, on Friday said they would no longer support the two men, even as the party tries to leverage a potential wave of liberal voter anger to pick up the two additional Senate seats it would need to take a majority in that chamber.

    _______But not Chuck (For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia) Schumer____________________

    Senate Majority PAC, a separate super PAC run by allies of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, will continue to spend in support of Manchin and Bredesen, said the group’s spokesman, Chris Hayden.

    • bmaz says:

      This is simply one of the most ignorant things ever. Fuck these two shithole groups. You elect whatever Dems you can so as to wrest Majority control from the GOP, THEN you work toward better Dems. These are the only two Dems in those states that could possibly win. This is Jill Stein level asinine thought process. Dems are such idiots. Jesus.

    • Eureka says:

      The market for *moderate* R voters in the Philadelphia suburbs was tapped out over ten years ago, around the time of the (front-loaded) peak of them changing their registrations to D and I.  So the ratio is, at best, flipped.

      Has Schumer been talking like this lately?  I missed it.

  40. harpie says:

    And I’m emphatically with Jill Filipovic on this:
    12:36 PM – 5 Oct 2018 I also don’t want to hear the phrase “presumption of innocence” from anyone who voted for or shares a party with a president who led crowds in screaming “LOCK HER UP” about his political opponent.

  41. Wm. Boyce says:

    Senator Collins strikes me as a dolt, if she really believes the crap she spewed today.

    And “Manchin is just trying to get re-elected. It’s not any more complicated than that.”

    That is right, West Virginia, from various stories I’ve read about it, sounds like it has become one of the most benighted places in the country. What it was like in the past, besides a coal-mining state, I don’t know, but one Times story detailed how the ACA has become more popular there. It took people years to figure out that the government was the reason they were receiving health care benefits, and then the ACA’s popularity began to turn around. Without being too insulting, can these folks figure anything out?

    • orionATL says:

      low education levels, the abscence of unions, and insistent propaganda make for lots and lots of voters too dumb to breath.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      One way not to be insulting when thinking about this is to understand the radical exploitation of the region over decades. They have been impoverished for a long time, with much of their natural wealth and human sweat going to enrich people who live elsewhere. Today they are being exploited in their desperate misery by drug companies happy to feed addictions.  And on and on it goes. There are reasons people are the way they are.

  42. Eureka says:

    Waiting for the feminist takedown of how Collins objectified and rhetorically raped Christine Blasey Ford and all women. Roxanne Gay would handle that material well.

  43. Trip says:

    I’m not a lawyer, so I did not know this.

    Stanley Cohen‏ @StanleyCohenLaw
    Little known fact among non-lawyers. In addition to their duties on the SCOTUS as a whole, each justice oversees a particular Circuit and handles emergency applications within it pending review by the court. Yes. kavanaugh will oversee a Circuit. 9th Circuit likely

     Stanley Cohen‏ @StanleyCohenLaw
    Should kavanaugh get the 9th Circuit it covers these districts. District of Alaska, District of Arizona, all of California, District of Hawaii, District of Idaho, District of Montana, District of Nevada, District of Oregon, District of Washington. Enjoy.

    • bmaz says:

      Oh, we knew. Since AMK’s retirement, it has been Roberts, but, yes, I expect it will be Kavanaugh once up to speed. As most significant matters get referred to the full court, that is not really the largest of concerns about Kavanaugh.

  44. Eureka says:

    Let’s also take down Jeff Flake, for in abdicating his conscience to ~’unless something really big’ happens or comes out, he indicates both that what has come to pass is not big enough, and that he is relying on perhaps some other woman’s ‘worse’ victimhood.

    • Rayne says:

      He’s retiring from the senate. The commitment should be to prevent him from ever seeking office higher than dogcatcher.

      And find a way to tank his book sales. His dustcover photo should appear at the top of every remaindered book pile across the country.

  45. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Surprisingly, Ms. Collins is only 65. Her demeanor makes her seem much older. She would be looking forward to and planning for another two or three terms in the Senate – twelve to eighteen years after 2020.

    Perhaps Maine’s voters could find a more progressive representative that would help them and help others across the country.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      In another remarkable piece of projection, Susan Collins branded the increasingly well-funded opposition to her back home – including out-of-state contributions – to be an attempt at “bribing” her to vote for Kavanaugh.

      Speaking of bribes, Senator, how generously handed were Lindsey, Mitch, and Chuck in helping you meet the needs of the great state of Maine – before your vote?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Obviously, Ms. Collins projection involved characterizing her opposition’s funding as a “bribe” to vote against Kavanaugh.

        As with the FBI’s supplemental report on Kavanaugh – and despite the length of her speech – what Ms. Collins does not say is more important than what she does say.

        A vote against Kavanaugh would have been a vote for women, for minorities, and for restraints on the executive and business corporations.  She chose Kavanaugh, and whatever deals the majority put together to help her realize the rightness of that decision.

  46. harpie says:

    House Democrat Promises Kavanaugh Investigation if Party Wins Control
    […] “It is not something we are eager to do,” Mr. Nadler said in an interview. “But the Senate having failed to do its proper constitutionally mandated job of advise and consent, we are going to have to do something to provide a check and balance, to protect the rule of law and to protect the legitimacy of one of our most important institutions.” […]

  47. Doug R says:

    I heard the rumors a few years back and therefore stayed away from ASUS and Lenovo. But everything electronic is made there now, including my Gateway/Acers, HP, and Samsungs.

  48. Anon says:

    Susan Collins did not just promise to confirm Brett Kavanaugh. She also just promised to get Rod Rosenstein Fired because now Trump will feel entirely safe doing so.

  49. Anon says:

    The Washington Post has a rather odd portrait of Susan Collins’ staffers up:

    The point of the piece appears to be making us feel sorry that a Senator’s office is the focus of people who want to convince her to do the right thing. I get that that is a stressful job and death threats are not acceptable. But to treat constituents, as the writer does, as if they are an impediment to a Senator doing her job is just plain offensive.

    Perhaps others have a different take on the article.

    • Tracy says:

      Right, Chris Hayes and Ocasio-Cortez were commenting on just this – that when senators stop listening to their constituents, it’s time to go! I mean – that is the job!!

    • Trip says:

      They just screwed a whole bunch of people and we’re supposed to feel sorry for them? Death threats are beyond the pale. But obviously no matter the number or persistence of the public’s appeal, Collins did not give a shit about how she is harming people. And this person was proud of THAT speech? Collins KNEW she was going to vote for him, she’s been playing this game for weeks. It’s her own damned fault she went along with the charade and called it a thorough investigation.

      Since it’s so hard on them getting out of doing the right thing, I suggest they both quit.

      • Anon says:

        She was likely proud because she is well aware of what her boss actually believes. Far more aware than the rest of the world apparently.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        I suspicious of where these death threats come from.  There is one side I have no trouble believing gives death threats, and I have seen them mentioned.  I haven’t seen entire articles written about the death threats to Kavanaugh’s aides who withdrew their support unless there was an investigation. I would fully expect the right to also issue death threats to Collins as part of their all-in “accuse them of what we’re doing” program. I would say violence from the left is way down the list of problems facing the US today.

        The narrative being presented to our country is deeply disturbing. It is far from what is real and far from the most important events and their real significance. They do create their own reality.

  50. Tracy says:

    Is there any chance that the FBI can, or will, disclose the restrictions McGahn placed on their investigation, so that the American people can know?

    I wonder if that evidence would change anyone’s mind on a “yes” vote before 5 pm.

    • Trip says:

      No one is changing their votes, most especially not Collins, who had her mind made up way ahead of time.

    • Anon says:

      That would not be up to the FBI but to the Judiciary Committee and the White House. I wouldn’t hold my breath.

      • Tracy says:

        Right, and I see that Mike Schmidt has some stenography out about how the probe was “limited from the start,” but how the FBI could interview the 3 accusers and were allowed to follow any leads. This is a blatant lie and I wonder if it’s McGahn’s dictation to Schmidt et al. A WaPo article says that Flake, Collins, Murkowski, McConnellagreed to leave out Swetnick’s claims. This is obviously more true. Neither article, however, mentions the 40+ people who were suggested by the accusers to be interviewed and the many others who tried to contact the FBI and had no success. (I’ll have to post the links tomorrow.) I also feel offended that they took it into their own hands to pre-judge what allegationswere credible, which really ended up shaming Julie, she didn’t deserve that!

        Oh well, we will know it all eventually,long after Justice Kav has overturnedRoe…. :-(

        Sad day…

  51. silcominc says:

    For those of you who are talking about how bad the GOP slime will be viewed in history, please realize that we are losing this war and if they win, they will write the history books just like the white men who wrote the ones we were forced to read in school.

  52. Doctor My Eyes says:

    Seeing the GOP wholeheartedly embrace and further inflame batshit crazy conspiracy theories and generally antisocial attitudes is deeply disturbing. It does not bode well for our future. As wealth becomes increasingly concentrated even beyond the obscene levels of a decade ago, power also concentrates in the hands of fewer and fewer people and the wider culture is increasingly at odds with the culture a few people wish to impose. But we live in a nominal democracy. Perhaps some here are familiar with the Citibank Plutocracy paper, I think it’s called a memo, in which the biggest problem for plutocracy was identified as one person/one vote. Even though the government–in the most recent case the Senate–has the power really to do whatever it wants, they still hope to hide behind some semblance of democracy while representing the interests of the few. Enter the batshit crazy conspiracy theories and generally anti-social attitudes. Those who are gullible enough, volatile enough, uneducated enough, drugged enough, and/or angry enough can be manipulated utilizing these idiotic QAnon type notions. Kavanaugh’s opening rant to the SJC touched on several of them, as did Susan Collins in her surreal performance. So, instead of democracy we have a few people making decisions that are in the best interests of a very few people and are bad bad news for a lot of people. These decisions are given cover by stirring up the rabble and creating fake constituency that will support what is being done out of ignorance. The size of this constituency is exaggerated as well. So, the appearance is that instead of installing Kavanaugh so that corporations can exploit uninhibited or that Putin can operate his criminal enterprises without fear of legal repercussions, the story becomes that our representatives are honoring the views of constituents who are stirred up about such things as false accusations of rape. That such ridiculous memes are transparently manipulative, changing as they do almost by the hour and sometimes into their diametric opposites, does not make them less effective or less dangerous.

    The reason this process has been so disturbing is that the GOP seems to be fully committed to this strategy, which tells me that they are fully committed to taking power away from the people, from authentic academic institutions, from news gatherers, in short from any institutions which nurture democracy. In their place we will be fed fake realities full of virulence. The GOP seems to feel quite empowered in this strategy, quite unconcerned with what most of the country thinks and feels. We are left to guess who is running the show.

  53. Bruce Olsen says:

    The Bloomberg story doesn’t seem right to me.

    Embedding a chip between layers of a multilayer PCB would encounter 2 problems. First, quite a bit of heat and pressure are needed to form the PCB: an embedded chip could easily break, even if it were in its packaging. Second, the chip would need to have several circuit connections (at least) but the circuits themselves are made of extremely thin layers of copper. Connecting an embedded chip to the needed circuits (in the face of the heat and pressure) would be very challenging: merely having the chip’s pads touch the copper won’t form a usable circuit and I can’t imagine the chip itself not damaging the foil layers it needed to connect with. I worked at a startup and we were barely to fit an unpackaged RFID chip between the layers of a DVD, which is much roomier than the space between layers of a PCB (and merely glued together, without heat or pressure, with UV-sensitive adhesive).

    There are other odd things about the article as well. I didn’t see a mention that Bloomberg has seen one of the compromised boards, but they know someone who did. Really? None of the many thousands were available for a review?

    The article said they were inserted at subcontractors, which were typically called in to resolve manufacturing capacity shortfalls–but that seems like a pretty haphazard plan (waiting for a shortfall).

    And maybe I’m channeling the GOP here, but it seems like they did nothing for an awfully long time (sorry).

    There are other odd little details, but that could just be the reporting.

    So maybe it’s true, but what if the goal was to discredit China–and take a bonus swipe at Amazon and Apple?

    Maybe that’s a little too wild-eyed–and the result of our post-truth age—but I think I need to hear from someone willing to show their face before I go all-in.

    • Rayne says:

      I am working on posts related to the Bloomberg piece. For now I only want to point out one thing: both Amazon and Apple made changes directly related to the use of Supermicro motherboards. Amazon bought server company Elemental and Apple discontinued its relationship with Supermicro. Both happened well before Bloomberg’s report.

      Amazon’s and Apple’s responses don’t change these facts.

      • Bruce Olsen says:

        I look forward to reporting I can trust. That’s why I’m here. I hope you can get a source to identify themselves publicly.

        I read the article from Electronic Design. Thanks for the link It points out the same kinds of issues I’d mentioned but they’d obviously been handled by then. If the stock motherboards used one of the two techniques in the article, then adding circuit elements could be done without any process changes and would scarcely be noticeable (not that it would matter, I guess, if threats of bribery came into play).

        And thanks for the 2011 post. There were a lot of great comments; perhaps the most relevant for us today was this, in reference to hacked voting machines:

        “CNN now brings you LIVE the Super Tuesday results straight from Beijing!”

        How quaint to think Beijing might have been the culprit, and that compromised electronics (instead of compromised citizens) would be the expected threat vector.

  54. Pete says:

    If the Dems take the House and less probably the Senate they will certainly hound Kavanaugh (and Trump) impeachment or not (unlikely in either case due to high water marks even in a slight majority Dem Senate).

    However, some of the alleged money going to defeat Collins in 2020 might be re-directed or – better – new transparent money spent for the sexual assault victims to further their “case” in the court of public opinion.

    I don’t mean necessarily criminal or even civil efforts in the relevant jurisdictions – as bmaz has pointed out statue of limitations is not retroactive – but what better based re-election defeat mechanism against Rep Senators and even Trump than “proving” (in the court of public opinion) the sexual assault claims.

    I figure the Dems in the House (should they take the House 6 Nov) will keep Kavanaugh busy on the lack of truth-fullness/perjury front.

    I’d like to to think that the uncomfortable pressure that can be put on Kavanaugh and his family (though NOT directly on his family) might result in a resignation.


    • Tracy says:

      I believe that the way this will go is that Dems will be vilified for “re-attacking” Kavanaugh, and for dealing dirty to try to take the seat back (never mind about Merrick Garland).

      It should NOT stop us from pursing the truth and holding power to account, but this is just the way the R-party approaches everything now: attack, attack, attack; victim, victim, victim.

    • Tracy says:

      So Trip – is this more leakage from the mouth of Don McGahn – forever striving to do the right thing in the midst of chaos? I found this piece so disingenuous, more stenography.

      The only revealing thing was that someone actually admitted that the invest was “limited from the start” and it was b/c a full invest could endanger Kav’s seat.

  55. Peacerme says:

    They have literally gone to a depth of depravity that tells us who they really are. We should be planning. Activating. We must move. The following is a fact:

    Innocent Children have been sacrificed to make a political point. Trump and his administration are responsible. There has been no remorse and it has still not been fully resolved. If this can be done to children, there is nothing more we need to know.

    It reminds me of living with my husbands active alcoholism years ago. He would behave in ways that shocked me and out raged me until I finally understood the disease and accepted that while he was drinking that was par for the course. I had to accept the truth in order to deal with life whether I chose to stay or leave I had to accept that he would behave like an alcoholic. Trump is a malignant narcicissist. We have to slap some cold water in our faces and stop being shocked, stop guessing about the horrible potential things to come. We must start coming up with solutions. We need to have new ways to survive this. New coping. We cannot change what we don’t accept. He will go lower than we can imagine. Our world has changed and we need solutions.

    We haven’t full grasped the scope of this problem as we careen forward.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      We have to slap some cold water in our faces and stop being shocked, stop guessing about the horrible potential things to come. We must start coming up with solutions.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Part of that is realizing what we’re up against.  As bmaz reminds us, this was baked in long ago.  Susan Collins’ vote was never in doubt, short of a 70 mm print showing up of Kavanaugh doing nasty things.

      But what does that mean about Collins?  She sat there and listened to a train of women coming in and out of her offices, releasing their stories and their fears.  Cold as December in the Gulf of Maine.  She knew it was pointless, except for the theater of her appearing to listen.

      Her staff read through hundreds or thousands of similar letters, e-mails and phone calls, with similar messages, pleading her to consider their side of things, their interests.  Then there were the coat hangers….

      She listened to none of it.  Like Dick Cheney during his war, she had better things to do.  That’s what we’re up against. That’s the commitment, the nearly limitless resources we’re fighting.  It’s not going over the top when the whistle blows, into the massed machine gun fire of a well-dug in opponent with a clear field of fire.  But it ain’t going to be easy or quick, some of us will need to drop off along the way, others will join in.  So, let’s carry on with the marathon.

      • Trip says:

        Susan Collins married into sweet arms lobbying money while she was a ranking member of Homeland Security and served on the Senate’s armed services and appropriations committees.

        I’m sure there was no conflict of interest, ever.

      • bmaz says:

        I am not even sure how much of the survivor stories Collins heard. Think the majority of it was fielded by staff as she was ensconced in her secret Capitol “hideaway”.

        • Peacerme says:

          So true. Because Republicans aren’t fighting for people. We can go back to Vietnam. This problem has been part of humanity since the beginning of time. We have to evolve past the current solutions. We have to seek truth, expose it, creste the whole stor line, connect the dots and make predictions that become validated by truth. That’s how we gain power. But we have to fight the lies and distortion with reality. We have to speak out as it gets increasingly dangerous. We also have to take control of what we can. Yes, vote. We need to make the point that the only way we can over ride the various ways they cheat the elections is to over ride the system. In a way that make the truth clear and verifiable. Dems need a way to verify results. They will cheat in this election. We just watched trump cheat. We need to vote like our lives depend on it. We have to fight back in the most massive powerful ways.

          What can we control? That list is most important list of all. Yes, voting but where else can we control our lives?? In what ways do we need to be proactive?

          They will lie, cheat, steel and kill innocent people. They don’t care. Now what do we do about that truth? What can we do to save ourselves if we radically accept this truth?

        • Rayne says:

          Be proactive in your backyard. Ensure first that every single seat from dogcatcher to governor is contested, that no seat is left to the GOP for lack of a candidate. Dog your state legislators, your secretary of state, your county clerk about election operations security. We don’t do enough this backyard work and it matters greatly; it may have been a key factor in losing Michigan to Trump by a measly 10K votes.

  56. Trip says:

    I’m not seeing enough scorn foisted on Flake for his academy award winning production and performance in “Sham Investigation: My mind was already made up”.

    Instead the MSM treats him as a tortured soul, instead of the top conspirator.

  57. Trip says:

    People are often angry at Greenwald, but here’s the truth:

    Glenn Greenwald‏Verified account @ggreenwald

    If Brett Kavanaugh were really the Brett Kavanaugh described by Susan Collins, and if his jurisprudence were what she so confidently predicted, his nomination would be vehemently opposed, not supported, by most Republicans & he wouldn’t be the Federalist Society’s Gold Star list.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Exactly.  And if Susan Collins were the thoughtful, empathetic, well-informed Senator she claims to be, she would have voted, “No.”  There was more than one fake in that Senate hearing room.

      • Trip says:

        She also wouldn’t have condescended about Dr Ford being feeble-minded. A person with empathy doesn’t do that. An owned hack does.

        • Tracy says:

          It was a VERY partisan speech, nothing “moderate” about it.

          Seems she was always going to be the female to tie things up in the end.

  58. Trip says:

    People say, “I don’t play the politics game, I don’t pay attention to politics” — well, the environment is getting poisoned, families are getting pulled apart and deported, prisons are privatized, real-life Nazis live happily among us, Native Americans are so disenfranchised our country is basically still colonizing them, Puerto Rico has been abandoned, the American education system has been turned into a business, and every day 96 people get shot and killed.

    ~ Emma González

    v. Stupid

    Chuck Todd‏Verified account @chucktodd

    Let’s be blunt, our political parties are waging a “cold” civil war… And as ⁦@amyewalter⁩ argues so well, each side rationalizes their bad behavior by pointing to the bad behavior of their “opponent”. The incentive structure punishes moderation

    Yeah, let’s be “moderate” about the cataclysmic policy being forced on “The People” without consent. If only we weren’t so shouty toward bullies and kleptocrats, people might not lose rights.

      • Rayne says:

        Automatic response to so many stupid takes these days is “Merrick Garland.” If the Democratic Party and a Democratic president were just like the GOP and its furry orange suet ball president, Merrick Garland would have at least had a hearing and a tepid half-assed investigation into any unusual background issues. But no.

        • bmaz says:

          Oh come on, every liberal on the planet should get behind the “let’s now fuck over” Bredenson (who had no vote and could be a future Dem vote) and Manchin, (who was never the crucial vote and played things smartly for his state and election chances).

          For the umpteenth time, Will Rogers was right. Democrats are too fucking stupid to get out of their own way. The now want to DECREASE their leverage in the Senate out of rote, reactionary, ignorance. I am so sick of this stupidity I could scream. Idiots.

  59. person1597 says:

    Shortly after that 6/14/2011 post, a strange comment in a subsequent post asked for more detail about suspect components “on this blog”.

    It seemed like someone had a special motivation to learn more about what we knew at that time.

    It stuck in my memory but I forgot the commenter’s handle so the google is not an option.

    It might be interesting as further context if someone finds that comment in a later thread (at least one or two posts later). My impression was strongly that someone was paying attention and hoping for more discussion.

    That discussion is happening now.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks. I think I need to rejigger my post in progress — I’d added a question about timing but I think I need to be more blunt in light of that particular 2011 post.

      I will be sure to poke around in the archives. Ahem.

    • Michael says:

      “It seemed like someone had a special motivation to learn more about what we knew at that time.
      “[…] My impression was strongly that someone was paying attention and hoping for more discussion.”

      Pretty sure I wasn’t here as early as 2011, so I wasn’t the poster, but what you describe is exactly what I did many times, dating back to when Usenet was a going thing, and that I still do today. Because I simply like to know things. All of which is to say, why, do you suppose, the 2011 post is still a hot cognition in 2018?

    • Bruce Olsen says:

      Once again, the past speaks to us, yet we listen not:

      Grateful Citizen: “Here, my boy, here’s a ruble for your trouble.”

      Bullwinkle: “No sir! Not one red cent!”

  60. person1597 says:

    “Wha, yeah
    C’mon, yeah, yeah, c’mon, yeah”

    I’m going to embed those immortal words in the qspi flash boot code and see if anyone notices…

    Here’s the code:
    87 104 97 44 32 121 101 97 104 10 67 39 109 111 110 44 32 121 101 97 104 44 32 121 101 97 104 44 32 99 39 109 111 110 44 32 121 101 97 104

    When the string is recognized on the spi bus via my series-terminator/bus monitor (AKA THE CHIP), it will trigger an NMI
    Which transfers control to a special monitor program.

    Fortunately the monitor gives priviledged access and vectors to different code in the flash which was asynchronously re-written into flash during the NMI latency, again, by the CHIP. Game over, man!

    Probability of eventual success?

    Maybe 1-2σ depending on resources… Not impossible!

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